Only two weeks from today, I will be arriving in Nairobi, Kenya. Two weeks from today! With me will be my dear friend, Mae, both of us carrying our well-stocked shoulder bags and pulling our carry-on luggage. That's right...we are traveling light this year. No checked baggage...just 1 suitcase each for 3 weeks of travel in Kenya, Rwanda, and the Netherlands. Should be a great challenge, especially since we will be encountering such a variety of temperatures and weather changes. I'll let you know how it all works out. I did one suitcase for 2 weeks a number of years ago and was perfectly fine. I've found we usually pack far more than we really need- and no one who sees us cares if we wear the same thing over and over again.
With my hair very short, the only hair "product" I need is shampoo... which simplifies things greatly. No hair dryer...no gel or mousse... what you see is what you get. And isn't the purpose of travel to BE THERE...to see and absorb the culture...meet the people...see old friends and make new ones? As this will be my third trip to East Africa over four years, I am feeling like an old hand at this long, long journey...but the mounting excitement I feel is as fresh as the first time.
I have been in touch with a number of friends in both Kenya and Rwanda and have found they share in our excitement. Kenyan people especially are extremely hospitable and very welcoming to "muzungus" (white people). People like Julius and Beatrice, Elizabeth, Godfrey, Charlie, Simon, Emmanuel, Pelagie and Japeth, Innocent and Emmanuel are eagerly awaiting our arrival, their excitement a gift in and of itself.
So think of us, traveling from Greensboro to Atlanta to Amsterdam to Nairobi...about 26 hours of travel time. Imagine, if you can, our touchdown in Nairobi at 8p.m. Kenya time next Wednesday, as we emerge from the climate-controlled air of the plane into the sights and smells and sounds and feel only Africa can bestow on the traveler. Imagine us, welcomed by our hosts at the Wildebeest Camp, eating the wonderful dinner there, and sharing dinner-table conversation with people from several different countries, strangers who quickly become friends as we spend this time together in a country far from home.
As I sit here writing, I realize I am smiling...and tears are filling my eyes as I think of what lies ahead- the beauty, the wonder, the joy, the hope, the adventure. Back to Africa I go!